Open House - Participate in the Housing Community Improvement Plan

Tuesday, July 9, 2024

The community is invited to review the draft CIP and share their insights to help refine the plan before it is presented to City Council later this summer.  The draft CIP is available for review on the City’s Public Input website here.  

A public open house will be held for the community to provide input into the CIP. 
 
Date: Monday, July 22, 2024
Time: 4 – 7 p.m. (come and go format)
Location: Russ Ramsay Room, Ronald A. Irwin Civic Centre, 3rd Floor
 
The plan establishes three main financial incentive programs: 
  • Per-Door Grant Program; offers a one-time grant for small-scale developments proposing up to four dwelling units. This grant is intended for the construction of new affordable units, but does make an exception for market-rate units within the First Neighbourhoods. 
  • Tax Increment Equivalent Grant Program; provides an annual grant to cover a portion of the municipal property tax resulting from residential development, spread over several years. 
  • Feasibility Study Grant Program; funds studies that assess the feasibility of building “missing middle” housing properties owned by Not-for-Profit agencies. These studies help identify the steps and resources needed for development at the concept stage.
Properties eligible for these programs include:
  • First Neighbourhoods and Downtown: Areas with significant need for affordable  housing
  • Strategic Development Areas: Locations within a safe, walkable distance to various services and amenities. 
  • The remainder of other Urban Settlement Areas
The City estimates needing approximately 3,115 new housing units by 2036 to meet projected demand. The Province of Ontario has set a target for the City to build 1,500 new units by 2031. The City is committed to meeting or exceeding this target by 2031 and fulfilling the housing demand by 2036.
 
Any unit that receives a grant from the City will need to remain affordable for 20 years.
 
Frequently Asked Questions

What is the Provincial definition of affordability:
For rentals, rent should be at or below the average market rate in the Affordable Residential Units bulletin. According to the province, the current affordable rental rates (including utilities) for Sault Ste. Marie is Bachelor: $695/month, 1 bedroom: $956/month, 2 bedrooms: $1,149/month, 3 bedrooms: $1,037/month. For ownership, the price should be 90% of the average price.

What is the purpose of this program?
The City does not build housing but there are actions it can take to help increase local housing stock. The CIP aims to incentivize the development of housing in Sault Ste. Marie by offering financial grants with greater benefits for projects that include more affordable units.

What do you mean by “affordable housing”?
We follow the Provincial definition of affordability. For rentals, rent should be at or below the average market rate in the Affordable Residential Units bulletin. For ownership, the price should be 90% of the average price.
 
According to the province, the current affordable rental rates (including utilities) for Sault Ste. Marie is Bachelor: $695/month, 1 bedroom: $956/month, 2 bedrooms: $1,149/month, 3 bedrooms: $1,037/month.
 
What are the main incentives offered?
The CIP proposes a per-door grant for those building 1 to 4 new affordable units, a tax increment equivalent grant for developments of 5 or more new units where the property tax rebate value and term increase with the percentage of affordable units, and a feasibility study grant for constructing new units on underutilized lands owned by non-profit organizations. 

How long do the property tax rebates last?
The rebate periods range from 3 to 19 years, depending on the percentage of affordable units in the development. Projects with a higher percentage of affordable units receive rebates for longer periods.

How are the property tax rebates structured?
Generally, rebates start at 100% in the early years and gradually decrease over time. Developments with more affordable units maintain higher rebate percentages for longer periods.

What are the eligible properties?
1) (Precinct 1) First Neighbourhoods and Downtown: Areas with significant need for affordable housing
2) (Precinct 2) Strategic Development Areas: Locations within a safe, walkable distance to various services and amenities. 
3) (Precinct 3) The rest of the Urban Settlement Area

Do developments without affordable units receive any benefits?
It depends on how many new units are being built and the location of the property. Larger developments with no affordable units may receive some tax rebates, but these are smaller and last for fewer years compared to those with affordable units. Smaller market-rate developments (1 to 4 units) are only eligible if they are in the Frist Neighbourhoods.

How is the program monitored?
The Plan Administrator is required to prepare an annual report detailing monitored indicators, which will be made public and presented to the City Council.
 
Can the program be adjusted?
Yes, the annual report may recommend adjustments to the plan, including changes to funding, boundary revisions, modifications to incentive programs, and updates to eligibility criteria or administration processes. Any proposed changes will need Council approval. 
Scenarios
 
Examples:

Scenario 1: I want to convert my basement into a rental unit. My property is in Precinct 2. 
Question:  Will it be rented out at a rate that meets the City’s definition of “affordable” for the next 20 years?

Answer: Yes, I will commit to renting it out at an affordable rate for the next 20 years.
 
This project is eligible for a one-time per-door grant of either $40 per square foot, or $40,000, whichever is less. Note that the grant cannot exceed the total eligible project costs. This means if you only spent $20,000 to do the work, the most you can receive is $20,000.
 
Scenario 2: I want to build a garden suite in my backyard to rent out. My property is in Precinct 1.
 
Question: Will it be rented out at a rate that meets the City’s definition of “affordable” for the next 20 years?

Answer: No, I would like to rent it out at the current market rate.
 
This project is eligible for a one-time per-door grant of either $20 per square foot, or $20,000, whichever is less. If the owner of this property were to commit to renting out the unit at an affordable rate for the next 20 years, the project would be eligible for a one-time per-door grant of either $40 per square foot, or $40,000, whichever is less.
 
Scenario 3: I want to build a 9-unit apartment building. All units will be rented out and my property is in Precinct 1.
 
Question: How many units will be rented out at a rate that meets the City’s definition of “affordable”?

Answer: One unit will be rented out at an affordable rate, and the rest will be rented out at market rates.
 
This project is eligible for rebates on the increased portion of municipal taxes resulting from the development (for the next 7 years):
• Year 1 – 100% rebate
• Year 2 – 100% rebate
• Year 3 – 100% rebate
• Year 4 - 100% rebate
• Year 5 – 75% rebate
• Year 6 – 50% rebate
• Year 7 – 25% rebate
 
Scenario 4: I would like to build a condominium with 8-units. The units will be sold to residents. It is located in Precinct 3.
 
Not eligible for a grant under this CIP, as freehold units are not eligible in Precinct 3.
 
 

Share this page:

Contact Us

Phone
705-759-2500

Email
info@cityssm.on.ca

Fax
705-759-2310

TTY
1-877-688-5528

Location
99 Foster Drive
Sault Ste. Marie, ON
P6A 5X6